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BOOK - Smiths Falls: A Social History of the Men and Women in a Rideau Canal Community 1794-1994
By Glen J. Lockwood
This history soars far beyond the usual local history. It is full of interpretation, some of it controversial....
Erected upon a rich base of local records, and employing modern research techniques to interpret the copious information available in 19th century census returns, a story emerges which will appeal alike to the scholar , family historian and casual reader.
Why does a community fail to rise above its origins as a construction camp in the wilderness? This is the underlying question Glenn Lockwood addresses in this fascinating book, lavishly illustrated with some 300 pictures. In the process, he chronicles the unlikely growth of Smiths Falls from an unharnessed waterpower on the Rideau River to the largest centre in the interior of Eastern Ontario. The development of Smiths Falls is portrayed against the larger backdrop of eastern Ontario, and against the more immediate canvas of the largest limestone plain in Southern Ontario, a rural impoverished area comprising 1400 square miles.
Its sudden emergence as a major Rideau Canal construction camp spurred the developers of Smiths Falls to carve out a hinterland for their enterprises at the expense of other regional centres. Competing elites, ethnic and religious battles, the funnelling of rural violence into Smiths Falls, and the lack of wage labout for women are but a few of the strands inthis absorbing chronicle. Along the way we meet unusual individuals ranging from the bullying Abel Russel Ward, to the Witsh of Plum Hollow's son - Mayor Sam BArnes, to the elusive Citizen Crane. The narrative is coloured with evetns sush as the relief of Fort Hemlock, the students strike at the collegiate, and a mass meeting of teh Klu Klux Klan.
Smiths Falls is shown to be very different from other Eastern Ontario towns in its origins, in its social make-up, and in its economic and cultural development. The external forces that shaped its economic development, the regional rivalries with other towns, its eluctant emergence as an oasis for rural eastern Ontario women, and internal divisions are all chronicled here.
The rich array of photographs, both early and recent, and their informative captions, alone are worth the price of the book.
7.75 X 10.25"
Hardcover (with dust jacket)
Published 1994 (by the Town of Smiths Falls)
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